Cyber Innovation Center members, including a sprinkling of local military representatives, got an introduction to Hitachi Data Systems on Wednesday.
A pair of the Fortune 500 star’s executives delivered the short version of the spiel touting the cyber campus’ latest prestige tenant in a packed-house lunch at the Silver Star Smokehouse in Bossier City. The eatery is just north of the National Cyber Research Park and Bossier Parish Community College, each mentioned prominently in the talk.
“Do more with less” is how Louise White, master business developer with Hitachi Federal, described the basic tenet of her firm, whose century-old parent entity has 360,000 employees, 900 subsidiaries and more than $112 billion in annual sales from products that range from bullet trains to flat-screen TVs.
“We make some darned good farm equipment,” she said, getting a laugh. “We’re known for innovation,” she added, noting the firm’s global reach and stability.
Subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems, which began in 1989 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., has more than 4,700 employees and does business in more than 100 countries. It specializes in data storage and management solutions.
“Data drives our world, and information is our new currency,” she said, noting that Hitachi Federal’s customers include all the country’s military departments and specialized entities within each, the intelligence community, the department of Homeland Security, NASA and the National Archives.
The challenge the company and its customers face now is that the growth and accumulation of data and necessary information are happening at an exponential rate, while budgets to store and manage the data have low or stagnant growth. Managing data is key to using it.
“The data’s no good if you can’t get the right data to the right person at the right time to complete the mission,” she said.
Her talk was followed by comments from Mike Vaughn, Hitachi’s man on the ground at CIC, who is putting together its new presence there. He now has six members in his “Eagle Team,” destined to rise in the ranks and drawn from Barksdale Air Force Base, Bossier City, Mandeville and the Baton Rouge area. Plans are to hire several more people next quarter, then grow as the business demands.
“The people that I am hiring are not high-priced, grizzled, jaded prima donnas,” he said. “The people I am hiring have the right starting capability, and more importantly, the right attitude and the right aptitude for the job. … These are people that will grow with me as they deliver service results to customers.”
Vaughn praised efforts by Bossier Parish Community College and the Louisiana Economic Development FastStart program to enhance and streamline the hiring and employee vetting process.
“This is not a training program, this is an apprenticeship,” he said. “That’s good business.”
The speaker at next month’s event, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the same eatery, will be retired Air Force. Col. Andy Thompson, recently 8th Air Force chief of staff and now head of the Northrop Grumman presence at the CIC.
“This is a great example of the kind of stuff that we want to continue to do more of,” CIC Executive Director Craig Spohn said.